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July 13, 2009

A Calendar For The Trip

I've put together a calendar for our trip with Google Maps. Right now it's pretty vague - a month and a half are dedicated to simply "South America Segment." Of course, this is the overall itinerary as it sits today, it will change as we move through the trip, or at least become much more detailed. I'll even post flights and those sorts of things.

This calendar will have a link in the top right-hand corner, in the Trip Links section. Clicking there will bring up a new page with the calendar, which will be kept up to date with our plans. To check out the calender, you can also click here.

The most beneficial part of doing this it that we are hoping to be joined for parts of our trip by friends. For those interested in taking a week or two and seeing something different with us, this calendar is the best possible way to keep abreast of where we are and where we plan to be in upcoming periods.

Until next time, be safe.

July 08, 2009

Let Me Introduce This Blog

As of now, this blog will be the official Trip Blog. Previously, I was just posting news about the blog on my RN Travelogue, which is my blog about the adventures that my wife and I have as travel nurses. From this point on, posting about our upcoming trip will be put on this blog only.

As can be seen below, there have been a few entries about the trip. I feel as though it needs a proper introduction, though. Essentially, as everyone should know, our country is gripped in an economic "hardship," and as such, there have been few if any travel nursing positions available. Jess and I have been fortunate to have been employed thus far in 2009 in Tucson, at different hospitals, and have been able to save up our money. However, we decided during our trip in May to Vancouver, Canada, that instead of fretting about finding the next positions when our contracts end at August 2, we would just take a trip for the rest of the year. Once we'd come to that decision, there was no point in backing out.

However, the idea for the trip has been festering in our minds since a conversation we had on a little ferry boat heading out to an outlying island of Hong Kong last December. We thought about how exciting it would be to take a trip that would include every continent, all seven of them. At the time, not yet fully understanding the impact that the economy would have on the travel nurse field, we figured we would finish three assignments, maybe with a little time in between, and finish up in November to take off in December. Circumstances as they are, we are taking the trip a little earlier, although we're not complaining.

As I wrote about in the entry below, we had to scrap the TSR segment of the trip, at least this time around the world. On the other hand, the other day as we sat in our favorite restaurant/bar in Tucson, the Amber Restaurant, which is a Polish restaurant, chatting with the owner, we started talking about traveling. He was telling us about traveling home, to Warsaw and Krakow. Suddenly it occurred to us that perhaps we should travel to Poland as well. I went home and ran the numbers, and as it turns out, flying from Barcelona to Poland, then taking the train to Berlin a week later to catch a flight to Bangkok is only slightly more expensive than the flight directly from Barcelona to Bangkok, our initial plan. So, it looks like we will be getting in Poland and Germany this trip as well. How about that!

That is how I want this trip to go down--dynamic, flexible, and completely fun. I want to be able to go where we want to go. If I want to visit a friend in the backwoods of Chile part of the way down to Patagonia, way out of the way, then we should, not only because he is a hiking/kayaking guide there, but more importantly, because we can.

That's why we're doing this trip at all. Because we can.

Until next time, be safe.


Minus The Trans-Siberian

Original Posting Date - July 04, 2009

Sadly, we've had some changes to our itinerary for our Seven Continent Trip. Changes are to be expected, but this was a hard one to convince ourselves to make.

So, I ran the numbers. Up to that point, I had been more or less estimating the costs of our trip, on relative budgets and assumed charges. I needed a more definitive estimate, though, so I sat down one evening - at work, of course - and looked up the average daily budgets for all of the countries we plan on visiting. I priced the costs of transportation (i.e. flight costs), and added up our expenses that we'll continue to have here in the US while we are traveling (such as our car payment). Once I added up all the costs, I was fairly dismayed. Suffice to say, the total was considerably higher than I had wanted it to be.

Thus began the painful process of trimming the trip to fit our budget. We need to have a budget, it's absolutely essential when traveling in as many as 18 or more countries for up to five months, all the while unemployed. More importantly, we need to keep to our budget, which will be difficult given all the temptations of visiting all the places we have planned. It wouldn't do to be well above our budget even before we start out on our trip.

Most glaring in the expenses department was the Trans-Siberian segment of the trip. This part added an additional $3000 to our costs, at least. There were flights up to Finland from Spain, train tickets (Finland to Russia, then the TSR), visa costs (Russia and China), and flights down to SE Asia. Of course, it's was very exciting segment of the trip, so much that it could even be a trip all by itself. That ended up being what convinced us to cut the TSR from our itinerary. It isn't that we don't expect to actually make that trip, it's just that it can't be part of the Seven Continent Trip. 

Actually, we are thinking of making the TSR trip next fall. That way, we can spend more time with my family in Finland, and then more time exploring Beijing and Xi'an in China. It will be an amazing three week trip to take. The TSR is considered one of essential traveler journeys that the world offers.

 It's a little disappointing not to be taking the TSR this time around the world, but it will also take a little pressure off of our pre-trip preparations (we don't need visas now), and we will also have more time to spend exploring in Spain, Morocco, and in SE Asia. In addition to cutting the TSR, we will likely have to limit our time in Spain and Australia (the estimated daily budget in those countries is $100-125, in comparison to $20 in a country like Thailand). I am also hoping that by waiting for good prices on airline tickets, I can bring down costs even more, since most of our flight costs are estimated at this poing (we only have tickets to Spain). Regardless, we currently are within our budget limits at this point.

So, barring donations towards our TSR segment, it looks like China and Russia won't be countries we'll add onto our itinerary this time. On the other hand, that gives us our next trip to look forward to. Of course, donations would be most welcome...(click below)

Until next time, be safe.

Next Up On The Horizon...

Original Posting Date - June 16, 2009

We have come to a conclusion. After months of worrying about where our road will lead us next, about our next job assignments and where they are, we have finally made up our mind about it all. We are not going to be working at all.

The idea really started to make sense while we were in the midst of a week-long trip to Vancouver in early May. We were hanging out in a place very close to where we had planned on spending our summer - Seattle - and we were starting to see that there wasn't a great chance that we'd be spending any time there this year at all. Job prospects were slim, and we didn't know what we'd do next.

On the other hand, we had been talking about taking a long trip late in the year, probably starting after the assignment that would have followed our present contract. Somewhere during our trip in Vancouver we had a thought about the Trans-Siberian Railway, and suddenly we were thinking, "Why not take the trip now? After all, September or October is the perfect time to take a trip on the TSR."

And so the idea came to be.

So, after coming home, we continued to nurture the idea. We monitored the job situation as well, but probably not as seriously as we had before. By the first part of June, we'd pretty much settled on traveling instead of working. We told our parents about the trip a week ago, and yesterday I told my recruiter that I wouldn't be needing a job come August. We've sent in an application for Jess's new passport (she filled her other one), and as soon as it comes back, we'll be purchasing visas for Russia and China, the two countries we need them for. With that investment, it will be a done deal - we're hittin' the road!

At this point, our plan has sort of congealed into a Round-The-World trip, perhaps even a Seven-Continent Trip, if we manage to find a way to get to Antartica. Our itinerary as it stands at this point:

We'll spend most of August with family, first in Colorado, then South Carolina. We'll fly out of Charlotte around the 25th of August, to Madrid, Spain. We'll wonder around the southern part of Spain for a week or two before heading across by ferry to Morocco, where we'll spend a week. Crossing back to Spain and Madrid, we're thinking of taking an overnight train to Lisbon for a few days in Portugal before flying out of either Lisbon or Madrid to Helsinki, Finland. From there we will take a train in St. Petersburg and then Moscow to catch the TSR. We'll pass through Mongolia on our way to Beijing on this week-long trip. From either Xi'an or Shanghai, we'll fly to Bangkok, Thailand, from which we will embark on a two or three week tour of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia). We'll likely fly from Bangkok to Sydney, and then spend a week or so in eastern Australia. Finally, we'll fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there, we'll head down the coast of Argentina to the southernmost point in Patagonia, where there is a possibility of going to Antartica. We'll head up the other coast by ferry to Chile, where we will visit friends before continuing on to Peru. We'll head back southeast from there, through Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and possibly a bit of Brazil on our way back to BA. Then we'll head back to Denver.

There, nothing to it. That's the plan, anyhow.

So, we'll see how it all turns out. It sounds better than working, at any rate.

Until next time, be safe.

Until next time, be safe.

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